For stays of 4 weeks or longer, your first week will be an orientation period during which you will learn the principles and goals of the reserve and gain a general knowledge of conservation and its importance in South Africa. One of our main goals at Askari is to share as much information as possible about all aspects of the bush. Many volunteers often comment that they didn’t realise just how much they would learn!
You are then immersed into a huge variety of reserve and conservation activities such as anti-poaching patrols, predator monitoring, alien plant control and habitat improvement to name a few. You will also spend a night under the African stars during sleep-out. Each day brings a new variety of things to see and do, and at any moment Askari volunteers can be called upon to assist with certain situations and emergencies that arise. The work at Askari is divided into 2 main categories – Reserve management, and Wildlife conservation & research.
Activities vary seasonally but may include:
* Veterinary dartings
* Prescribed burns
* Game capture & release
We encourage you to spend at least 4 weeks with Askari to get the most out of your experience. Longer stays (up to 3 months) are very welcome but the minimum period is 2 weeks. For those staying more than 4 weeks, orientation will include an introduction to important bush skills such as first aid, 4×4 driving (licence required), fence maintenance, rifle shooting etc. You will be introduced to research and monitoring programmes and learn the various techniques for recording and capturing data.
A typical day starts around 6.00 am with a morning work session perhaps removing alien plants, repairing an eroded site or removing bush encroachment. After a mid morning breakfast the team heads out again, this time maybe to set and check camera traps for our research. After lunch the team departs on another activity such as an herbivore age and sex ratio research drive.
Volunteers also take it in turns to carry out various duties on a daily basis at Askari. These include meal preparation, data collection, vehicle checks and fence checks. All ingredients are provided for cooking along with easy to follow recipes so don’t worry if you’re not a master chef!
Depending on the season, events such as prescribed burns and game capture and release take place. Both emergency and planned veterinary dartings also occur and volunteers are involved in all of these if they coincide with the period of their stay.
Our activities are not only essential but also aimed at being educational, inspirational and fun. We are proud that we are valuable participants in the running of an active wilderness reserve.
“At Pidwa, wilderness is not merely a marketing tool; for us it is a way of life.” (The Askari Team)
Are you studying an environmentally based degree? Why not use your time at Askari to gain credits for your course? Help conserve the African bush and enjoy the wildlife whilst fulfilling requirements for your degree modules.
Askari offers you the following for your field placement:
· Practical, hands on experience in conservation, reserve and wildlife management.
· On the job training for all projects, data collection and analysis, research techniques and tasks.
· Training in the use of all research equipment, including GPS consoles and radio telemetry equipment for the tracking and research of animals.
· Personal, interactive approach to all activities with a maximum group size of 10, and an emphasis on team work.
· Appropriately controlled safety procedures when working out on the reserve and while off base during Askari excursions.
· On going supervision, training and assessment for students and the completion of references and placement feedback forms where required.
· Trained, experience and passionate staff on site, combining more than 16 years’ bush experience, research knowledge and BSc & MSc qualifications.
· Public liability insurance.
All of this, combined with stunning, world class wildlife viewing of species such as elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, leopard, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog and wonderful bird life.
If you are interested in this offer, please mention it when emailing us, providing details for your course supervisor or institute. We will liaise with your study institute and determine if this can work for you.
· Askari caters for students following any environmental discipline
· With a minimum of 6 persons, a faculty can secure exclusivity of Askari for field trips.
· Faculty leaders are encouraged to accompany students where possible, provide leadership and motivation, as well as supervise internal student issues.
· With prior arrangement, projects can be tailored to suit the discipline of the group of students.
· Alternately, the group can partake in the running Askari projects, covering a broad spectrum of conservation and research areas.
· Certain times of year may be better suited to your faculty than others. Please enquire.
Askari is a wonderful place, surrounded by fun and interesting people. You will work hard but get every job done with a smile, knowing you are having a positive impact on Pidwa and the conservation of Africa’s wilderness. The staff make you feel welcome straight away and fill you with knowledge you won’t easily forget. Their passion and love for the bush and it’s wildlife in translated in everything we do on a daily basis – it is infectious and motivates all volunteers to get up in the morning. The rewards/rest periods definitely make the hot, hard, exhausting work worth it. Your fellow volunteers come from across the globe and each have an interesting story to tell. As you are all in the same boat you ‘click’ and become solid friends, while learning about different backgrounds and reasons for being here! I have had the time of my life and recommend time at Askari to anyone! I will be back. "October 2016"
Plus, I now have the best stories to tell in the pub about holding scorpions, camping next to rhinos, hearing a wild lion roar, watching cheetahs hunt.
It’s fantastic because we are not only working but enjoying the wildlife of the place and the staff are always able to answer every question and explain you the features of the animals.
I especially liked the focus on creating a wilderness area, as large as possible, to house endangered animals while developing the native habitats those animals need, rather than creating a maximally stocked reserve built for taking tourists on safari.
Well where to start . . . every aspect of my two week trip on the Askari Wilderness Conservation project was amazing. If you’re looking for a volunteer project with a huge variety of activities, wildlife everywhere, great food, fantastic homely accommodation, no two days the same, great value, friendly and knowledgeable staff, then Askari is for you.
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